Neil Oliver, archaeologist, historian and author of the ‘Two Men in A Trench’ books, went with our very own Technical Director Phil Cooper to BBC HQ in Salford yesterday to help launch our new collection of 1.5 million World War One hospital records.
To mark this month’s centenary of the devastating First Battle of Ypres, yesterday we launched our new collection “Military Admissions and Discharge Registers WW1”, classified as MH106 at the national archives. These are 1.5 million admission and discharge registers from a range of field ambulances, casualty clearing stations, general and stationary hospitals, ambulance trains and medical transport ships, as well as hospitals back home in England. The first tranche of 30,000 records, now available to search at http://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/military-hospital-records, is from the 51st Field Ambulance, which took care of men from the 17th Division in France.
TV archaeologist and historian Neil Oliver, who fronted the BBC’s ‘Two Men in a Trench’, ‘The History Detectives’ and ‘Vikings', as well as Channel 4’s ‘Time Team: Big Royal Dig’, has been very enthusiastic about this project, which he sees as giving a unique insight into life in the Great War trenches through the various afflictions and illnesses suffered by the men. Take a look at our Top 20 illnesses and ailments, as well as lots more information about the trials and triumphs of World War One medicine, here: http://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/library/document/2463/trench-traumas-and-medical-miracles.
The interviews were broadcast all over Britain, from Norwich to Cardiff, from North East Hampshire to the Isle of Man, as the full set of Royal Army Medical Corps records, though just 2% of the total produced during the war (the rest were destroyed in various government space-saving exercises), were specially compiled the provide the Home office with as wide a sample of the stations and locations manned by the RAMC as possible. The full collection should be transcribed within 2-3 years for searching, and the first cache of records is up right now. You never know, your ancestor’s might be among them!